April 9, 2012 at 10:13 AM ET
A California coroner is due to conduct an autopsy of Thomas Kinkade on Monday, three days after the famed American painter died unexpectedly, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday.
Kinkade, whose luminescent, homespun scenes captivated millions even as critics scoffed, died alone at his home in Los Gatos in northern California of apparently natural causes, according to family spokesman David Satterfield. Kinkade was 54.
The Santa Clara County coroner will perform the autopsy. Officials have offered no further details on the case.
Kinkade claimed to be America's most collected living artist, his prints hanging in the homes of an estimated 10 million Americans. He was a Christian who often depicted scenes from the Bible, and his work expressed a wholesome idealism.
But a darker side to the artist surfaced in reports over the weekend by the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News, which cited problems with alcohol, including a 2010 DUI arrest, and fraud accusations by two gallery owners that ultimately cost Kinkade's company $860,000 in damages.
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